Are seizures in the setting of sleep deprivation provoked?

Nicholas D. Lawn, Samuel Lieblich, Judy Lee, John Dunne

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21 Citations (Scopus)


It is generally accepted that sleep deprivation contributes to seizures. However, it is unclear whether a seizure occurring in the setting of sleep deprivation should be considered as provoked or not and whether this is influenced by seizure type and etiology. This information may have an important impact on epilepsy diagnosis and management. We prospectively analyzed the influence of sleep deprivation on the risk of seizure recurrence in patients with first-ever unprovoked seizures and compared the findings with patients with first-ever provoked seizures. Of 1026 patients with first-ever unprovoked seizures, 204 (20%) were associated with sleep deprivation. While the overall likelihood of seizure recurrence was slightly lower in sleep-deprived patients with first-ever seizures (log-rank p = 0.03), sleep deprivation was not an independent predictor of seizure recurrence on multivariate analysis. Seizure recurrence following a first-ever unprovoked seizure associated with sleep deprivation was far more likely than for 174 patients with a provoked first-ever seizure (log-rank p. <. 0.0001). Our findings support the International League Against Epilepsy recommendation that seizures occurring in the setting of sleep deprivation should not be regarded as provoked.
Original languageEnglish
Article number122-125
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


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